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Get used to what words mean

If he wants to have any future as a pedant Keith Haines (Write Back, September 1) should think twice before committing himself to print.

The phrase ‘pre-used' is a perfectly acceptable alternative to second-hand and does not have to be interpreted as ‘before it is used', as he suggests.

Prefabricated doesn't mean ‘before it was fabricated'. ‘Pre-engaged' and ‘pre-established' respectively mean engaged and established beforehand. Thus ‘pre-used' can legitimately be interpreted as ‘used before'. Or am I being preposterously prescriptive?

John McReynolds


Belfast Telegraph


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